What seemed as if it might be an isolated moment of brilliance in Hickman's first Fantastic Four volume (chosen as one of LJ's Best Graphic Novels of 2010) was instead the first gambit in an ongoing, intricately plotted, cosmos-spanning saga bursting with bold, fresh concepts and major players from the F.F.'s past, including Dr. Doom, the Inhumans, and the High Evolutionary. With Reed Richards off-planet at the behest of Galactus and the Silver Surfer; his wife, Sue, mediating a conflict between undersea king Namor and several newly discovered Atlantean races; and Ben Grimm temporarily depowered and human after drinking a formula created by the Future Foundation (a group of superintelligent children), Johnny Storm makes a valiant stand against the Earth invasion force of Annihilus, ruler of the Negative Zone. VERDICT Hickman, ably supported by Epting's strongly realistic but versatile art, continues to surprise and amaze with the fertility and scope of his imagination. With superscience, an exploratory spirit, heroism, pitch-perfect characterizations, and heart, this is worthy to stand beside the best F.F. work ever, including that by original creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.—S.R.